Kevin Dean | Kitchen Designer | Dean Cabinetry
By Kevin Dean
Updated June 3, 2022

This article gives you the technique to budget your cabinets. This is the same technique used in our Cabinet Cost Calculator.

We know how frustrating it can be to get unclear pricing from a company!  So, we will discuss the different price ranges and how to develop a cost estimate.  This article will discuss cabinetry only. If you are interested in the other costs associated with a cabinetry purchase, check out this article, Cabinetry Pricing and Costs.

The following process will show you how to estimate your budget for cabinets.  We will use linear feet or LF for short.

What is a linear foot?

 A linear foot is a measure of distance.  

How do we use linear feet?

We use the length of a space to determine how much cabinetry you will need.  For example, if you have a 10-foot section of wall where you want base and upper cabinetry,  you will need 10 LF of bases and 10 LF of uppers for a total of 20 LF.

What is the difference between base and upper cabinetry?

Base cabinetry sits on the floor and a countertop sits on top of it.  These cabinets can have doors, drawers, trash pull outs, and other inserts.  Base cabinetry is usually 34 to 35 inches tall and 24 inches deep.

Upper cabinetry is hung on the wall.  They have doors and usually hold your cups and plates.  Crown molding usually can wrap the tops of upper cabinets.  Upper cabinets are usually 30 to 42 inches tall and 12 to 13 inches deep.

Most companies build their cabinets in increments of 3 inches.

Base vs Upper Cabinetry in a Custom Kitchen

How do I use LF for estimating my cabinetry cost?

In the cabinetry industry, there are 3 main categories.  They are stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry. For more information on these, check out this article, What’s the difference between stock, semi-custom, and custom?

  • Stock cabinets will typically cost $200 to $280 per LF
  • Semi-custom cabinets will typically cost $300 to $375 per LF
  • Custom cabinets will typically cost $400 + per LF
  • Installation will typically cost $60 per LF

These numbers are assuming you’d like the best quality product for your money.  For example, you can certainly find stock cabinetry above $375 per LF, but we assume you’d prefer semi-custom or custom if you could.

How do I budget my layout?

The first step in budgeting your layout is to determine your total linear feet.  To do this, you want to look at the dimensions of your space. Measure the areas where you need cabinetry and subtract any areas you don’t need cabinets.  Work wall by wall to find your total linear feet.

For example, if you have a 12-foot wall with a 3-foot window that needs upper cabinets, subtract 3 from 12 to get 9 LF.  You now know that you need 9 linear feet of upper cabinets in this space.

Subtract any areas where you do not need cabinetry including appliances, windows, doors, walkways, and more.  Remember, you will need cabinetry where you have a sink. Be sure not to count corner cabinets twice.

Once you have your total linear feet, you can simply multiply it by the cabinetry cost per LF.

For example, if you find that you need 30 LF of cabinets, make the following calculations:

  • Stock
    • 30 LF x $280= $8,400
  • Semi-custom
    • 30 LF x $375 = $11,250
  • Custom
    • 30 LF x $540 = $16,200
  • Installation
    • 30 LF x $60 = $1,800

With these calculations, you find that your cabinetry could price $8,400 to $16,200 depending on the level of quality and styles that you choose.  Regardless, the installation will cost about $1,800 no matter the cabinetry level.

What about extras and additional details?

The linear foot process for budgeting accounts for basic extras and details.  If you know that you want more details, molding, or inserts, add $10 extra per LF for each detail you want.  For example, you know you want 2 large pantry cabinets with pull-out drawers. Add $20 per LF to your cost estimate.

Dean Cabinetry Fabuwood Stock Galaxy Horizon Framed Full Overlay Kitchen Pantry Open Microwave
Pantry with Pull Out Drawers in a Stock Kitchen

How accurate is this budget?

This process will produce 3 cabinet budget options for you.  These are budgets and do not represent an actual quote.  However, they can be very accurate. We use this same process to budget our clients.  In some cases, we have found this form of budgeting to be within a few hundred dollars of our actual quote.  

How do I get an actual quote?

If you’d like a quote from Dean Cabinetry, schedule an appointment.  

We will gather some information about what you’re looking for along with dimensions, existing photos, and any inspiration photos.  With this, we can understand what you are looking for and provide 3 budget numbers.